Although not the only way to catch a quick limit of trout, the popularity of still-fishing dough bait on lakes and reservoirs is undeniable; especially in states having put n’ take fisheries for catchable-size trout. Here, you will find not only a description of the basic still-fishing method, but a simple way you can increase the effectiveness of your presentation by adding a Lil Corky single-egg-imitation to your trout offering.
Dough bait is the generic term used to describe any brand (there are several) of prepared bait formulas designed to be molded around a hook and mostly still fished for trout. And while I’m using the term “dough bait” to describe this product type you should realize the most recognized and effective brand (in my opinion) are the PowerBait or Gulp! products marketed under the Berkley label.
PowerBait is a prepared bait formula designed to attract trout as well or better than real bait. The fact that Berkley PowerBait outsells worms and single salmon eggs, which once held the number one position as the most popular bait for trout, is a testament to the effectiveness of this product.
Once your outfit is rigged and baited, the basic method is pretty simple; just cast out, allow your outfit to sink to the bottom, wait for a bite, and set-the-hook when your rod tip dips toward the water. It’s a good idea to leave some slack in your line, so trout can swim off with your bait and swallow it without feeling line resistance, before you yank back on your rod tip to set the hook. By leaving a few feet of slack in your line you can see the line begin to tighten up as the trout swims away with your bait; signaling it’s time to set the hook.
To enable trout to quickly find your bait is the ticket to quick fishing success. When using PowerBait you can greatly increase your success by using the right amount of dough trout bait in combination with a Lil’ Corky single-egg-imitation such that your bait will float above bottom so cruising trout can quickly see/find it. This is fundamental to success and often results in quick limits! And while using a Lil Corky to help float your already buoyant bait above the bottom may be new to you, its effectiveness is undeniable. In addition, the buoyancy of your Lil Corky single-egg-imitation will take the guess work out of how much dough bait is the right amount to float your baited hook above your sinker.
When rigging a Lil’ Corky/PowerBait combination, use a ball of PowerBait slightly larger than your Lil’ Corky. We can tell you, based on extensive testing, you will catch far more fish if your Lil’ Corky and PowerBait combination floats side-by-side in the water column.
Leader length is important because, after all, you want your bait floating at the depth the fish are cruising, which might be close to the bottom during times when the water is clear and sun bright, higher in the water column during the spring - when water temperatures begin to warm, early and/or late in the day, or on overcast days. And while the average leader length should be 18-to-24 inches, a leader long enough to extend above bottom-growing vegetation might be the ticket to success when trout are swimming just above the weed tops.
To rig, simply thread your main line (extending from your rod tip) through the hole in an oval-egg sinker, add a small plastic bead, and tie your line end to a size ten (10) barrel swivel. Then attach your leader (18-to-24 inches), complete with Lil’ Corky threaded on leader above hook, to the free end of your swivel end and mold a ball of PowerBait around your hook.
Note: A size 12 treble hook should be used in combination with a size 12 Lil
Corky, and size 14 treble with size 14 Lil Corky bait floater.
A few of the most popular and productive dough colors and flavors available in Berkley® PowerBait include Rainbow, Sherbet, Chartreuse, Peach, and Flame Orange; with garlic being a favorite scent enhancer.
Terminal Tackle You Will Need:
1) A few jars of the most popular PowerBait and/or Gulp! colors along with a selection of size 12 and 14 Lil’ Corky floating egg imitation/bait-floaters; the most popular Corky colors include pink pearl, red, orange, pink, sherbet, clown, and (for night fishing - where legal) luminous flame.
2) Selection of size 12 and 14 treble hooks.
3) Selection of 3/8 and 1/2 ounce “Oval Egg” free-sliding sinkers.
4) Size 10 barrel swivels.
5) Size 4 and/or 6mm plastic beads
6) Spool of four (4) or six (6) pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon leader material. Fluorocarbon leader material is less visible to fish.